Florida lives up to its nickname "The Sunshine State". Southern Florida enjoys a tropical climate which means that temperature hovers at similar level throughout the year from the mid twenties to the mid thirties. Rainfall is higher in the summer months which means that the humidity rises. Whilst Orlando is very popular throughout the school summer holidays, it is hot and humid with quite a bit of rain – so remember to take your waterproofs.
Flights and Airports
There are two airports in Orlando – Orlando International for scheduled airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, and Sanford for charter flights from the UK (for example Thomson). Miami airport is a major international hub, but has improved its services over the last few years most recently with the MIA Mover shuttle service. Tampa is a great airport to fly into, as it is generally quieter than Orlando and Miami, and has excellent access to both the Gulf Coast and Orlando. Flight times to Florida are 9 to 10 hours.
Passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the return date to the UK.
All travellers should check full entry requirements prior to travel by visiting the FCO website or by contacting the relevant embassy.
USA entry procedures have changed and UK travellers to the USA under the Visa Waiver Scheme must now complete the I-94W form online using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) system - for more details, look at the US Embassy site. Any other nationalities must seek the advice of their embassy.
Language, People and Culture
A wide mix of nationalities have settled in Florida over the years, which makes the culture a lovely fusion of American, Hispanic, European and Asian. The food reflects this, with a delicious range on offer of American favourites, Cuban flavours and unique Floribian dishes (focussing on fresh seafood, fruit and spices). With tourism as its number one industry, the overriding impression of Florida is one of sunshine and good times.
American Dollar. Credit cards are accepted in hotels and many restaurants and shops
120V 60 Hertz. All plugs are a flat blade 2 pin. Converters are readily available in the UK for the USA.
Vaccination & Health
As health requirements change please consult with your GP or specialist travel clinic well in advance of your holiday for specific information related to your travel and medical history. Additional information can be found by visiting NaTHNaC or MASTA Travel health.
Location and Getting Around
Florida is often described as the “Pan Handle”, as much of Florida is a peninsula sticking out of the south east coast of the USA. Florida has the longest coastline of all the mainland USA, and has an abundance of truly beautiful beaches. On the other hand, Orlando is as far from the sea as you can get in Florida, being located in the very centre of this state.
Florida is a generally easy state to get around, with an excellent road network including some spectacular causeway drives to enjoy around the coastal resorts.
By car: To rent a car, the driver must be over 21, have a valid credit card and English language drivers licence. Your passport must also be presented. American Sky can pre-book your car at favourable rates, and have a great range to suit all different shapes and sizes of group. The roads are wide and easy to drive on with all major attractions well sign-posted
By public transport: The main resorts all have some form of public transport to get around the locality, and details specific to the resort are all easily to obtain locally.
By taxi: These are readily available and generally not too expensive in Florida. Many families will find a good taxi company at the beginning of their holiday and stick to it for the duration – it’s always nice to see a friendly face to take you home when you’re exhausted from a day in the park or at the end of a long night.
Holidays in the USA
When the crowds will be at their peak:
New Year’s Day 1 Jan
Martin Luther King Day around 21 Jan
Presidents Day around 18 Feb
Memorial Day around 27 May
Independence Day 4 Jul
Labour Day around 2 Sep
Columbus Day around 14 Oct
Halloween end of Oct
Veterans Day around 11 Nov
Thanksgiving Day around 28 Nov
Christmas Day 25 Dec